In August last year, Google unveiled ARCore, a system to make augmented reality apps for mobile devices using the Android operating system. Then in March, having gone out of preview at MWC 2018, Google announced the rollout of several gaming, shopping, home, and creativity apps based on the tech giant's ARCore 1.0 augmented reality SDK (Software Development Kit). Now, the company has updated ARCore to version 1.2 bringing several additional new features for developers to play with. ARCore 1.2 brings limited support for specific iOS devices, and new features like Augmented Images, Cloud Anchors, and Sceneform.
With Augmented Images, developers will now be able to use augmented images in a real word scenario and even more them around within their apps. It comes with Vertical Plane Detection that lets you place AR objects on more surfaces like textured walls. This opens up new experiences like viewing artwork above your mantelpiece before buying it, Google explains on its blog.
ARCore also gets something known as Sceneform which gives Java developers the ability to build 3D apps without the need to learn OpenGL. Sceneform has tools to build AR apps from scratch, as well as add AR features to existing ones. Both Sceneform and Augmented Images are available for Android users only.
Google also introduced Cloud Anchors with ARCore 1.2, which allows multiple devices to share information and collaborate to create something in a common space. For example, multiple users can redecorate a home, play games and paint a community mural. The interesting bit is that Cloud Anchors are offered on both Android and iPhone devices. Supported devices include iPhone SE, iPhone 6s series, iPhone 7 series, iPhone 8 series, and iPhone X.
Google also announced at I/O that Instant apps, a feature that allowed users to try an app before buying it, will also support ARCore. This means developers can lure customers in by integrating AR elements in their trial version. Shopping websites can also get users to purchase items without really downloading the app or even going to their website.
The new ARCore 1.2 is available for developers to tinker with on the developers' website. ARCore requires Android 7.0 Nougat and above. It is compatible with 13 specific Android phones including Google's entire Pixel smartphone range; Samsung Galaxy S8, Galaxy S8+, Galaxy Note 8, Galaxy S7, and Galaxy S7 Edge; LG's V30 and V30+; OnePlus 5; and Asus ZenFone AR.